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Department of Political Science

Emeritus Faculty

Kenny J. Whitby

Title: Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Department of Political Science
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]


Professor Whitby joined the faculty at USC in 1983 with an earned Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa. He has been a visiting professor at Arizona State University, University of California, Los Angeles, and at Wayne State University.


Professor Whitby’s research is in the areas of American politics with specialization in political behavior. Specifically, his research focuses on electoral, minority, and legislative behavior. He’s currently completing a book project on elite behavior in presidential nominations from the perspective of strategic timing of elite decision making. The book is expected to be released in late fall 2013. Professor Whitby’s research has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, some of which include American Politics Research, the British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and Social Science Quarterly. In addition, he’s the author of The Color of Representation (University of Michigan Press, 1997)


Professor Whitby regularly teaches the Department’s introductory American politics course for undergraduates. In addition, he teaches courses in electoral politics, legislative politics, minority politics, and political parties at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Selected Publications 


Strategic Decision-Making in Presidential Nominations: When and Why Party Elites Decide to Support a Candidate. 2014. (Albany: State University of New York Press).

The Color of Representation: Congressional Behavior and Black Interests. 1997. (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press).

“The Impact of Organizational Vitality on Black Voter Turnout in the South,” Party Politics, March 2015.

“A Longitudinal Analysis of Competing Explanations for the Transformation of Southern Congressional Politics, Journal of Politics, with Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., May 1991.

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